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for Christians working in education

The life
A Christian perspective on society and the education industry for the Christian professional in education.

The value of friendship.

Schools need to take a closer look at student friendships, argues Jon Severs

Last night I watched a friend perform a song on the West End stage that I last saw him perform in our school hall 20 years ago. Our friend Gemma was in the final stages of cancer and we had organised a concert in her honour. Adam sang Stars from Les Misérables and watching him sing it again last night reminded me of an often undervalued part of school: the making of friends. 

In a couple of weeks' time, we will run an interview with Professor Toon Cillessen who has researched teen relationships extensively (9 June issue of Tes). He explains how the friendships we make in school have a major role to play in how we behave and form relationships as adults.

And at this time of the year you can see how valuable friendships can be, be it in the Sats a few weeks ago or in the GCSE and A-level exams happening at the moment. 

Read more.

What one girl thinks of collective punishment.

An 11-year-old girl's assertion that her school was guilty of a war crime has gone viral.

Her father, Gavin Bell (also known as author Mason Cross), revealed on Twitter that she had gone rogue on a pupil feedback form.

She criticised the policy of punishing a whole class for one person's bad behaviour - by citing the Geneva Conventions.

"Not sure if I should ground her or buy her ice cream," Mr Bell mused.

Asked what her teacher could do better, Ava Bell wrote: "Not use collective punishment as it is not fair on the many people who did nothing and under the 1949 Genva [sic] Conventions it is a war crime."

Read more.

Birmingham Uni to open campus in Dubai.

The University of Birmingham's plan to open a campus in Dubai is the latest example of universities expanding with international branches.

Vice-chancellor Sir David Eastwood said the campus in the Gulf would show the university's "global mission".

The first phase of Birmingham's new outpost in the United Arab Emirates will open in the autumn.

But most of the undergraduate and graduate courses, to be taught in English, will run from autumn 2018.

Read more.

Black children missing from grammar school debate.

The argument for the reintroduction of grammar schools hinges on the idea of meritocracy, but this denies the ways race and other social factors such as class impact education and grammar school admissions. Black students are already at a disadvantage in our education system, and May’s plans will worsen this.

Read more.

Social media having negative impact on young people's mental health.

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

Read more.

Girl with high IQ "rejected" by grammar school.

A girl with a ‘higher IQ than Einstein’ was rejected by a grammar school despite being one of the brightest children in the world.

Mia Golosino has an IQ of 162 – the highest possible score on the test she took, well over the so-called genius benchmark of 140.

It puts her well into the top 1% of people when it comes to brain power – but even so, she was turned down for her first choice school.

She had applied for Aylesbury High grammar school after sitting the 11-plus exam privately.

Read more:

Toxic fumes for schools in Hampstead.

Concerned parents and residents are determined to make the threat of toxic air a local election issue, as figures reveal that almost 55 per cent of schools in Hampstead are exposed to toxic fumes.

Read more.

Children go without seeing their parents.

Many UK children are going for days without seeing their parents because of the stresses and strains of modern life, a charity is warning.

Some 27% of 1,207 parents surveyed for the British Heart Foundation said they were too busy, in an average day, to spend any time with their children.

Nearly three in 10 parents said they left the house, without seeing their children, at least once a week.

The charity said the "daily grind" was driving families apart.

Read more.

Childcare passport?

Politicians are being urged to simplify the way they fund free childcare for pre-school children by creating what is being dubbed a "childcare passport".

The National Day Nurseries Association idea would draw all existing funding streams into one account which parents could then use as they choose.

The body, which represents 20,000 independent nurseries, says the current funding system is too complicated.

The idea could "solve" the childcare issue for the long term, it said.

Read more.

Boys could wear skirts at private school.

Boys could be allowed to wear skirts at a north London private school if a plan for gender neutral uniforms comes in.

Highgate School is considering mix-and-match outfits for pupils after head teachers said that growing numbers of children were questioning their gender.

The school, which charges up to £6,790 a term, has also been encouraged to allow unisex toilets and open all sports to all pupils.

Girls at the school can wear grey trousers, dark blue jackets and ties.

But boys are not currently allowed to wear grey pleated skirts, although they would be under the new proposed dress code.


"We are asking them, should it be called uniform number one and uniform number two?," said head Adam Pettitt.

Read more.


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